Pirates of the Burning Sea: Things you wish you knew…

There’s a good thread going over in the PotBS forums called Things i wish i would have known earlier…. [Edit:  This list in the forums keeps growing and getting better organized, so check back on it from time to time.] Like a lot of smaller games (especially early on), there is still a fair amount of really useful info that is still in the playerbase “lore” category rather than in a tutorial or in-game help or even on some of the fan sites (cheating! :P).

Some of these can really make your life in PotBS more interesting. Check it out and kudos to Caithleen for getting it started and to the other contributors noted below. It continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Here are a few so far:

1. The ^ key toggles the firing arcs and wind indicator (standard keybindings)

2. When you click on the border of your minimap, a “small pointing hand” will appear and the ship will automatically turn to get in line with the direction of the “small pointing hand” on the border.

3. While the description says stoneshot is awfull, it is a nice hybrid ammo, try it out.

4. With CTRL-left click you can set athings to autofire on your hotbar. You could e.g. drag Fire the cannons and Boarding to your hotbar and let them automatically trigger if they are available.
[This works in avatar combat as well. I use it to autofire my prep attacks, then launch specials as the situation dictates. Caution, just because boarding is lit up doesn’t mean you really want to if the % chance is low or the enemy’s crew is still high…]

5. Need more smelling salts ? A twink leveled up to lvl 5 will have about 35 of them.

6. The position in the opensea combat instance is relative to the position the ships had on the open sea before engaging. The wind direction is copied as well.

7. You can shoot at a ship without selecting it as target, simply right klick a ship you’re capable of firing at. (Ideal if you have one ship targeted the one side, autofire enabled fire with right-clicks on ships on the other side).
[Really helpful in those furballs where tabbing among targets sets the camera swinging wildly]

8. Boarded ships allways leave a derelict, so boarding will yield you more ships to salvage. But : Ships with “Minor”, “Fallback” or “Mission” can’t be salvaged, sink them right away!

9. The Auctionhouse in potbs is different, it’s a blind bid system. You should always check the partial order option and try to buy a bit lower then the average listed price. An excellent guide on that topic by bonham can be found here (http://burningsea.com/forums/showthread.php?t=46)
[Great tip on partials. Some folks dump small quantities for a song to unload them]

10. You can use older ships (no more used) as storage or to port around. Just talk to the harbourmaster and you can drag&drop into/from the ships storage. Select a ship in a different port and switch to be teleported there. Remember all your personal equipment (Buildingsdeeds) ports with you as well.
[Three more warehouse slots…]
11. As a pirate, be careful when you use a ship that is for a single class only (like Freetrader Cargo ships). The invalid ship tag means : You can be attacked PvP because the ship is invalid for you!

12. When your ship is sunk, unsecured cargo is lost. You get free warehouses in some of the ports. you should store your unsecured loot there every now and then.

Secured Cargo : Ammo (Crates are NOT secured, unpack them if you don’t plan to sell them), general outfittings, your personal inventory, consumable repairs.

13. Pirates can’t capture Ships higher their own level.

14. Theres a lvl 15 skill on the general trainer : “diplomacy” allows you to read what other nations say in Area chat. Important : Don’t use area chat for critical informations like fleet strength – they can read it with diplomacy.
[The general trainer is located in your nation’s capital.]
[Edit: Skills available from the General Trainer skills require at least level 15 and cost 1 Captain Skill point.]

15. You can zoom the minimap with the mouse wheel, but you’ll have to place the mousepointer in the center while doing so.

16. Private tell format is rather weird, so i’ll put it in my list too : “/tell firstname lastname, Text” Don’t miss on the “,” since it tells the game, where the name stops (Antonio de la Sol,)
[Double left clicking on a player’s name in chat also starts a private tell, backspace to reply to a tell. I know… I know…]

17. Marks of Victory (PvP Rewardvoucher) can be farmed PvE by doing the missions from the rebel agent or garnision commander.

18. [Hans] At level 12 your fallback halifax or La Belle gets automatically replaced by a better fallback ship for free. Well, only if you don’t own any other ships.

19. [Hans] The economy tutorial gives a nice reward for completing it, a ship deed for a Chase Marie, which you can use or you can sell to the junk dealer for *unknown* dubloons.

20. [toehorse] There are advanced versions of the focus skills sailing, gunnery, and manuevering sold on the general trainer for 1 captain point. These skills provide larger bonuses and penalties than the ones you start with.
[The general trainer is located in your nation’s capital.

21. [NefariousCoal] When you are sunk, it subtracts 1 from your ship’s Durability rating. When you are out of Durability, it is gone. You can increase the durability rating of your ship by dragging & dropping another deed of the same ship type onto your ship at the Harbor Master (while you still have at least 1 Dura left).

22. [CutlassJack] Clicking on someones name thats spoken in the Chat window automatically sets up a private tell without having to type their name out correctly.

23. [CutlassJack] To reply to a tell, simply hit the ‘Backspace’ key and it fills in the information for you.

24. [CutlassJack] Every 5 levels visit any Class Trainer to recieve special career missions. Do these missions right away because they often yield special rewards and abilities. The next quest wont be offered until you complete the ones before it. So dont ignore them!

25. [Gillain] Watch the icons on your loaded guns. Half-grey-circle = “Target out of Range” and a quarter-circle (like a pie wedge) means target in range but not in the gun’s firing arc.

26. [CutlassJack] Pirates often cant figure out how to get their ‘Scavenge’ skill because they didnt listen to the last bit of advice [#24, about doing the career missions]. You need to finish the previous class quests first (lvl 5 one)

27. [Jakkin] If you hold down ALT and click on a battery that is more than half loaded you can fire a half strength broadside.
[Great when in close action and the difference between a successful boarding or taking another broadside is your reload time.]

Good stuff. Enjoy.

A Commendation for Noobness

Ah, the promise of a new world to explore. Even after doing the beta of a game, there is still something different about it when it goes live, when it “counts.” One neat and at the same time frustrating aspect of a new game world is the excitement of discovery– whether its a new cool area you’ve never seen or even the mundane aspects of “how things work” in the new world.

Most of this blush wears off when a game matures as so much knowledge is absorbed in teh interwebs. The game changes. Its becomes not so much about how things work but simply how to get to the good stuff quickly which can be its own kind of fun.

If you’ve ever leveled an alt you know what I mean. The second time through can be fun but its a different kind of fun. Like watching a rerun of a movie you enjoyed. You wont be surprised by a plot twist, but you begin to see different aspects of it and enjoy it nonetheless.

Of course, the first toon through a new world takes some knocks and makes some inevitable if-I’d-only-known wrong turns. The first time through is more like puzzle play almost.

Well, puzzle play continues for me in PotBS as I re-learned the difference between “pennants” and “commendations” last night. I knew this at one point but obviously forgot.

The non-pirates or “Nationals” in PotBS don’t get to actually capture and keep the ships they defeat in battle. Thats what pirates do. Instead the nationals only get to collect either a pennant or a commendation from vessels they defeat. In theory, they are all in service to the crown, so off the ship goes for the good of the realm and, aside from the loot you keep, you earn one of these rewards which you can turn in later for good stuff. More on that in a minute.

At level five, all three careers, Naval Officer, Freetrader and Privateer get a skill called Claim Prize which allows one to loot these reward marks from defeated ships. For Naval Officers, it yields a commendation. For Freetraders and Privateers, it gives you a pennant. Pennants and commendations are turned in for very different things. PotBS Wiki has a fair summary here. Note the French turn in in Point-a-Pitre in the Antilles.

That is unless, you are a Privateer and you specced your career points to get the skill “Grease the Wheel.” Grease the Wheel lets a Privateer get commendations instead of pennants. As far as I know, Freetraders are still stuck with pennants only, and Naval Officers commendations. Correct me if I’m wrong please.

Of course, I had it in my head that 25 of something got you a Bermuda Sloop, the first non-civilian upgrade ship. As a Privateer, I was tooling around running missions and taking advantage of any NPCs that I thought I could beat and although I had already bought a Bermuda Sloop on the auction house, I thought, hey, the economy is young, there are few ships on the market, I’ll just go collect my Bermuda Sloop deed and resell it.

So off I go on the long sail from Florida down to Point-a-Pitre when to my horror I realize that the 25 pennants I’ve been collecting can’t be turned in for a Bermuda Sloop. As a matter of fact, it takes 120 pennants just for a Dolphyn Ketch (a modest merchant vessel). A little research on teh interwebs (cheating :P) revealed that I in fact needed commendations and to get them I needed the Grease the Wheel skill.

So, how to respec? Well, apparently junk merchants (in the auction houses) sell career respecs for a modest 10k DB. Ouch. Or, I could turn in 10 pennants for one (hurray!). So out of the dark of despair came a glimmer of hope– I respecced the skill, picked up some other building materials to start my economy, left a ship in the capital so I could teleport back when needed and sailed with my tail only somewhat between my legs back to Tampa to call it a night. So two steps forward, one step back, but thats the fun and frustration of life in the new world.

Ahoy, Matey! Pirates of the Burning Sea Sets Sail

Pirates of the Burning Sea kicked off Monday morning for Pre-Boarding Party customers (aka, pre-order folks like me).  I was a bit dismayed that FLS didn’t make the updated client available for download prior to Monday morning launch, but for open beta participants who already had the client installed, the patch was done in only about 25 minutes or so during prime time U.S. West coast.  Even with the damned SOE patcher.

Reading the forums, not everyone had that kind of success, but over all, it wasn’t that bad for a first day.  Still there are glitches, hitches and snags.  Laggy in starter zones, but not unbearably so.  Of course, I rolled French and went with Wilhelm and Gaff to a server which satisfied Wilhelm’s server selection criteria.  Looking at the login screens, I think we made the right choice.

Enter, Henri Le Petomane, Privateer.


On Blackbeard, which was the original closed beta server, many many folks returned I’m sure because of the community they developed over the betas.  Couple the “first server” with ostensibly the “coolest” name and you have a recipe for heavy pop lag.  Sure enough, the Pirate faction was shown as either “Moderate” or “Heavy” load most of the evenings for the last few days, as was the British.  Good for the economy, bad for performance.

I’m glad I took a break from Open Beta.  The excitement of a new world returned, and it appears that FLS has made strides in improving the game experience in measurable ways.  Most notably, avatar combat has improved.  Its not great, but it seems much better.  I think FLS may have pulled just enough of a rabbit out of the hat to get people over the hump.  If you keep drilling the “this is not an avatar game” mantra into your head, you might just be able to look to the future with hope.

The UI is still stinky, but eh, I’m over it mostly.  What I miss most is social infrastructure like grouping tools and Society (aka guild) warehouses (aka banks) to facilitate society cooperation:  sharing resources and coordinated production.

With the economy so new, there aren’t many ships to upgrade to.  They are starting to come online slowly.  I’ll probably end up getting my “free” Bermuda Sloop by turning in my privateer pennants.  The annoying part of this is that you can only turn in these pennants in your national capital.  In the case of the French, that is Pointe-a-Pitre in the Antilles which is a quite a haul from the French noob starter city of Charlesfort on Florida’s northern Atlantic coast.

This kind of long distance, hands-on travel was potentially game breaking for me.  It takes a long time and unlike Eve or WoW where you can set your destination and then go read War and Peace, you have to actively navigate.  Good for immersion, bad for the casual player.

Of course, surfing around (cheating :p) looking at potential ship upgrades and production line set ups I came across something I completely missed.  Like so much in life, its was just under my nose but I didn’t see it (nor is it really highlighted in the game or tutorials to my knowledge).  If you have a ship drydocked in a distant port, the Harbor Master can simply transport you to it.  DOH!

Think Eve with shuttles to go pick up your new space ride, except you can always get back there instantly if you leave the shuttle there.  This is Key and I’m an idiot for not figuring it out sooner.  Here’s what it looks like:


Since you have to be present in any port where you have economic operations (lumbermills, mines, plantations, etc.) in order to initiate those activities, simply having a crappy ship in drydock there gives you instant access from whereever you are.  You still have to collect and transport all the goods to where you wish to use them or sell them, but this takes the significant sting out of some of the time sump back and forth.

So far, I’m cautiously optimistic.  Looking forward to getting some group missions going with Wil and Gaff and see how long the magic lasts.

Pirates of the Burning Sea Pre-Boarding Party

For those of you who bought a pre-order of Pirates of the Burning Sea, the exclusive Pre-Boarding period starts tomorrow at 10 a.m. Pacific time. The Pre-Boarding period runs until retail launch on January 22 and you get to roll your characters over to the full retail launch.

The pre-order comes with a Pre-Boarding Party key and a Landing Party key. You need to enter the Pre-Boarding key to get into the game tomorrow. Save the Landing Party key for the full launch later this month. Rev from FLS has posted a FAQ here.

I tried logging in today in hopes that I could at least get the patching done. The FLS forums said that if you had done the open beta, you didn’t have to redownload the client, just patch, enter your pre-boarding key and you’d be off to the races.

Apparently that race will only start tomorrow at 10 a.m. I fired up the client this morning and gritted my teeth as I watched the SOE launcher do whatever the hell it does, taking the inordinate amount of time that it does to do it and was finally presented with the PotBS login which allowed me to enter my existing Station Name.

Unfortunately, when I entered my Pre-Boarding key it simply said “Key entry error.  Please retry or confirm the dates when your key is active.”  Surfing the forums, I was able to find a post  confirming my worst fear.  Yup, no one can enter their key or start patching until 10 a.m. Pacific time tomorrow.  *cringe*

Hopefully, the mad rush will not cripple the patcher like it has in the past, but I’m less than optimistic.  Would have been nice to simply let everyone get the game installed, patched and keyed over a weekend, but not open the servers until 10 a.m. on Monday.  But then again, that makes too much sense.

Pirates of the Burning Sea Open Beta Extended to January 1

potbs2.jpgAether, the community director for Pirates of the Burning Sea, just announced that the Open Beta period will be extended until January 1, 2008 so everyone can get a look at the game over the holidays. Read all about it here.

In addition, all Open Beta players who pre-order will recieve a special flag and sail design. Pre-order players can get in game January 7, 15 days ahead of retail launch.